MONTEREY, Calif. – For one week each August, California’s Monterey peninsula becomes the hub for vintage automobile enthusiasts.
Within the glittering collection of unique rendezvous that make up Monterey Classic Car Week, there are a number of stand out events: the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex (Aug. 15), The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering (Aug. 16), the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (Aug. 18) and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion (Aug. 16-18).
As a whole, the occasion is a reference point for those who appreciate the virtues of the classic car, and Rolex has been deeply involved since 1997.
The origins of the week can be traced back to 1950 when a group of sports car owners decided to create a road race and concours at Pebble Beach. The first winner of the road race was Phil Hill, who would go on to become a three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the first American-born winner of the Formula One World Drivers Championship. Over the succeeding 60 or so years, the event has grown in size, shape and stature, attracting an array of cars and spectators from around the world.
The now traditional third Sunday in August became a calendar fixture for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1972. During the day, around 200 of the most prized collector cars will take pride of place on the famous eighteenth fairway at Pebble Beach. Rolex has been Official Timepiece of the Concours and partner of The Lodge at Pebble Beach since 1997.
The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex was created as an acknowledgement to the Road Race and to showcase the automobile in motion. Tracing parts of the peninsula’s original 17-Mile Drive, the tour underscores the early history of the event. Rolex became presenting sponsor of the Tour d’Elegance in 2007.
The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering combines landmark vehicles with a culinary sophistication. Awards are made using a peer-based judging system, and the Rolex Best in Show is the top prize. Rolex has been the Official Timepiece of The Quail since its inception in 2003.
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is another cornerstone of the week. The Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is a revered track with some notable turns, such as the Corkscrew, with its notorious five-story drop. The Reunion features racing for some 550 historic cars that span nearly every era of motorsports history and this year features the Corvette as its special marque. Rolex has sponsored racing at Mazda Raceway since 2001.
Rolex has been involved in Monterey Classic Car Week since 1997, and the event forms a significant part of its association with the cardinal elements of motor sport: endurance, speed and tradition.